12 Marketing Laws Your Sellers MUST Memorize

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(by Bob McCurdy) In the past I’ve written about dealing with many of the largest and most sophisticated marketers and agencies in the country, but over the past several years I’ve re-discovered that dealing with the local business owner is equally rewarding and in some ways, even more challenging. Here’s why…

Competing for an unfair share of 100 GRPs with a media buyer is considerably different from dealing with a local business owner who’s depending upon your objective guidance, insight and marketing expertise to generate the biggest return from their limited marketing budget. It is a huge responsibility with little room for error and we’ve found that doing it right is more difficult than one might initially expect.

This past week we found ourselves sitting in front of a number of family-owned businesses discussing their marketing challenges. Effectively addressing and resolving these challenges will likely require every ounce of marketing acumen we’ve accrued over the past four decades, as we must essentially operate as an advertising Centaur, by being half master marketer and half master salesperson.

We walked into one husband/wife owned business that’s never been called on to learn that they have over $100,000 of co-op funds available. The lifetime value of this account could be many thousands of dollars and they are in need of objective marketing direction. We’re in the process of learning more about this business and their marketing history and will be meeting again next week.

Another family’s retail business has been flat for over a decade in spite of their ad budget fluctuating from as high as $100,000+ to as low as $10,000. Their goal is to increase their share from thirty-three to fifty in their retail trading area. We’ve put forth several marketing concepts but more discussion with the client is on the calendar. Seek first to thoroughly understand, then recommend.

There was another family owned business who’s currently advertising but has been focusing on too narrow of a demo. We’re working with them to expand their target (businesses grow by expanding their customer base rather than getting existing customers to purchase more frequently- especially this kind of product). We’re also identifying different ways they might more creatively leverage the audio equity they’ve accrued via their jingle/tagline.

We then met with a one-man shop who was ready to place $100,000 on TV for the holiday season for one of his retailers. We’re now in discussion to divert a portion of those funds to Radio. Being familiar with the recent ARF study, the Nielsen ROAS and latest Total Audience Data provided us with instant credibility and powerful follow-up material.

There were also several other one-person agencies that we met with where we came in “peace”, making our research and marketing resources available to them to assist with client solicitation. These meetings deepened our relationship as we “gave” and set the table to “get”.

Keeping the following “marketing laws”, our baker’s dozen firmly in mind, assisted us in elevating and guiding the conversations in each of these meetings and will play a key role in our subsequent marketing recommendations:

  1. Companies usually grow by expanding their customer base not by getting current customers to buy more often.
  2. Consumer purchase behavior is fluid. Users become non-users. Non-users become users. Need to reach everyone who has the financial means to purchase your product/service. The long tail.
  3. Most advertising is meant to “remind” consumers about a product they’ve previously used or already are familiar with.
  4. “Life” typically puts consumers in the market for a product, not advertising.
  5. Advertising works when it’s relevant. The need for frequency decreases as relevance increases.
  6. It is the medium’s job to deliver a message within the key “window of opportunity”, when the consumer is most receptive to the messaging.
  7. Each medium has its heavy and light users. Hence the greater impact of a media mix.
  8. Creative counts, accounting for 3/4’s of the impact of an ad campaign.
  9. Much advertising serves to neutralize the impact of a competitor’s advertising. Competitive advertising impacts the effectiveness of yours.
  10. If an advertiser has been dark or on hiatus for a period of time, it will take time to generate results.
  11. Share-of-voice leads to share of mind which leads to share of market. Own something.
  12. A point-of-diminishing returns does exist. No matter how much more effective a preferred medium might be deemed initially, there does reach a point where the next dollar would be more impactful spent in another medium.
  13. The “offer” matters.

To generate maximum results for our clients we need not only be “ambidextrous” when it comes to media, being equally comfortable with both traditional and digital but a “hybrid” professional, possessing not only considerable Radio expertise but marketing expertise as well. This is Radio selling at its finest and what makes it so rewarding is that we’re able to practice the art of sales and the art of marketing while making a real difference in our clients lives.

Bob McCurdy is Corporate Vice President of Sales for The Beasley Media Group and can be reached at bob.mccurdy@bbgi.com

5 COMMENTS

  1. The most competitive type of industry is that with perfect competition. Four conditions must be present in the market structure for perfect competition to exist. a particular good or service must have many sellers and buyers available. In addition, each seller must account for just a small share of the overall sales in the market. The goal of these sellers is to attract enough buyers to their busi­nesses to earn a profit.

  2. I like and used the phrase that I learned from Dave “Giff” Gifford decades ago. “Every business has two primary marketing objectives…NEW business, and REPEAT business. You get NEW business by advertising for it, and you get REPEAT business by advertising for it consistently.”

    Also GIFF…”Business goes where it’s invited, and the reason my listeners don’t do business with you is because you’ve not invited my audience into your business to buy and do business with you.”

    One more from GIFF: “I mean you are open to ideas aren’t you?

  3. Point #8 has, in my experience, “been berry, berry good to me”. 🙂
    Point 8: “Creative counts, accounting for 3/4’s of the impact of an ad campaign.”
    It really ought to be point #1.
    If that element is in hand, the rest of the discussion/sales presentation has a much better chance of succeeding.

  4. A Point of Diminishing Return allows radio people who really don’t believe in the medium (many of them) to advocate media mix, thereby:
    1. Have many media running the client’s message so if it doesn’t work, the radio salesperson doesn’t get blamed.
    2. Reach all the people with the advertiser’s message who don’t listen to the radio or worse, don’t listen to the radio salesperson’s station, effecting greater “reach” with the message. (Frequency be damned in this occasion).
    All of this, of course, causes the radio station to never be taken seriously by advertisers because the station can never be measured. (That’s the way the radio salesperson wants it since many don’t believe it works.)

  5. Bob,

    Your “point 12” is something I would fire a sales rep working for me saying. The “point of diminishing return” is popular with media-mix thinkers-always has been; but, it’s never been proven. If advertising any single way or in any single medium or at any level has a point of diminishing return, why bother having a sign in front of your business? Why bother being listed in a business directory?
    For that matter, why bother saying station call letters or playing station jingles?
    Even if it were possible to reach that “point”, which I don’t believe it is, further ad exposure reinforces a decision to buy or further affirms that the decision to buy was a good one, causing the consumer to share the conviction with another prospect.
    Claiming that there is a “point of diminishing returns” for advertisers allows consultants unlimited time and budget to debate where that point is and ad infinitum soap boxes with which to perform.

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